If you own shares in a family trading company they are treated as business property for inheritance tax (IHT) purposes and can pass to your heirs tax-free on your death.
If the next generation are not interested in carrying on the family business, you may decide to sell the shares. The problem with this is that the money you receive will not be business property and will therefore be charged to IHT (probably at 40%) if you still have it when you die. You will also be charged capital gains tax (CGT) at 10% or 20% when you sell the shares. (more…)
With the ever-growing public awareness of their impact on the environment, the labour market, societies and small businesses around the world, more and more companies are being scrutinised about their attitude toward the way they operate. In fact, your company’s ethical stance is increasingly important, with customers wanting to see proof that your company takes care of its staff, the local community, and the environment.
Why is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) so important?
There are some compelling business reasons for your company to adopt a CSR policy. According to the UK Small Business Consortium: “88% of consumers said they were more likely to buy from a company that supports and engages in activities to improve society.”
Sharing and promoting your CSR policy will gain you more clients and customers and also a lot of positive PR. Use social media to let people know what you’re up to and to post news of staff who take part in fundraising activities. If you’re doing something special that is benefiting the community (e.g. corporate sponsorship, fundraising, providing work experience for vulnerable members of society), send a press release to your local newspaper, business magazines and organisations your company is a member of (e.g. the local Chamber of Commerce) in the hope of getting editorial coverage.
Ever wondered what a typical day in the office for us is like? In an occasional series, we asked our team members to tell us about their work. In this way, we hope you’ll get a better understanding of what everyone does, but also find out more about what makes them tick.
For the first in this series, we talked to our Audit/Accounts Manager Catherine Hill.
An important part of my job is to work on the audits of some of our larger clients. I also prepare monthly and yearly accounts as well as corporate and personal tax returns.
In my managerial role, I supervise team members and also help with the scheduling to ensure our clients have the team continuity and that our trainees get the chance to work on the areas they need to ensure they meet their study requirements.
You may have seen me out and about as I also take an active role in HB’s marketing. This includes organising our own events as well as going to various networking meetings on behalf of the company.
In the old days, all your accounting was done on a disc. You would buy the software on a disc and install it onto your computer. It was self-contained, which meant that as long as your computer was working, everything would run smoothly.
Unfortunately, there were downsides. What if something went wrong? The system may well not have been supported, so if something did go wrong, you had to bring in outside experts to sort things out. Every two to three years, you’d have to make a decision about whether or not to buy an updated disc. And when it came to submitting figures to your accountant, you had to download the information and send it on a separate disc, risking it being damaged or lost in the post. And if your accountant only ever saw your figures once a year and you’d been inputting them wrong, it wouldn’t be picked up until there was a year’s worth of corrections to make to the annual accounts. The downsides of disk-based applications have led to the introduction of cloud accounting.
These days, more people are switching to Cloud accounting, but mainly because there is no disc alternative any more! The switch happened fairly seamlessly and most people have adopted the new system quite happily. However, there are some people who are still wary of the Cloud; if you’re one of them, it might help to understand the advantages.
Tax Tips for Individuals
In this month’s tax update, we will discuss some tax tips for individuals.
Please note that the rates referred to throughout the blog are noted for the 2017/18 tax year which runs from the 6th April 2017 – 5th April 2018.
It will be key to think about any of the options discussed in this blog prior to the end of the current tax year, being 5th April 2018. (more…)
If you’re setting up a small business from scratch, you know that money is going to be tight. That’s why most entrepreneurs begin by trying to do everything themselves in order to keep costs down. But there are some compelling reasons to seek professional help from an accountant from the very beginning, which may end up saving you a lot of money in the long run.
Firstly, an accountant can help you get the structure right, especially when it comes to tax. For instance, often when a couple set up a business together, one of them will continue working in a full-time job until the business takes off. An accountant will help you set up an equal shareholding which will help keep finances ‘in the family’ when it comes to dividends. This can be especially helpful in cases where doing this can keep you under the 40% tax threshold.
Maybe you’ve just set up your own business and are looking for a new accountant. Or perhaps your accountant has just retired and you need to look for a new one. What you need to bear in mind is that hiring the right accountant for your business isn’t a simple process. Who you choose to look after your accounts is crucial, especially if you have plans to expand as you will need to look for someone who will come with you on your journey to success – an accountant who will not just help you with your tax return, but also advise you on your business, and get more involved in the financial side of things the bigger your company gets.
Word-of-mouth – sometimes called ‘earned advertising’ for a good reason – remains one of the most powerful marketing tools there is, with around 84% of people relying on it as a trustworthy source of information. So one of the best ways of choosing a new accountant is to ask your business contacts for referrals. If they’re happy with theirs, they’ll be happy to give you a recommendation. If you don’t get any joy from referrals, ask the people you meet at networking groups. Who knows, you may already know someone from an accountancy firm who’s a member of one of your groups – if you already like and trust them, then it’s definitely worth setting up a meeting to talk about how their company can help you.
Welcome to HB Accountants Monthly Tax Update for July 2017. In this month’s update, we will be outlining the Common Reporting Standard (‘CRS’) and what it means for our clients and contacts. (more…)
Networking is a hugely popular activity for entrepreneurs and managers, and there are many compelling business reasons why you need to spend more time, if you don’t already, you need to spend more time at your local group.
Networking groups attract people from all sorts of businesses, so the likelihood of finding new client leads and even opening up new opportunities is very high. And if yours is a B2C business, well, every single person at every single networking group is a consumer in their own right. If they like you, they’ll buy from you – so networking has got to make good business sense.
It’s not what you know, it’s who you know
You must have heard of the phrase ‘people buy people’. You could have the best product or service in the world, but if people don’t know about you, why would they buy it from you rather than someone else? By getting to know people at networking meetings, especially if you’ve earnt their trust and respect, you’re more likely to come first to mind when they realise they need/want what you provide.
If you have a growing business, you may well have taken on a bookkeeper to help you do the accounts. But grow the business a bit further and you will need to supplement the bookkeeping role with the services of an accountant.
The problem is that there is an in-between time when you need a management accountant, but cannot afford to employ someone on a full-time basis. This is when you need the services of a virtual financial director – a qualified accountant who will spend as much time and energy on your business as you need, but who will work only for the amount of time you need them.